5 Companies That Are Changing The Way Businesses Relate To Customers

A unique customer experience is the outcome of a unique company.

A unique customer experience is the outcome of a unique company. What I mean by that is that, yes a company can put tactics into place that transactionally are out of the ordinary. But in order to be steadfast in the market, and with customers, employees, and partners, as a company that is unique — they need to address both the internal and external factors to enable them to deliver in a unique manner.

Here are some of those dependent dimensions that exist inside the worlds most beloved or “Make Mom Proud” companies:

They angst over deliberate leadership actions to give permission.

Anyone of these simple actions can start a groundswell for good. For example, Cleveland Clinic’s transformation began with the commitment by CEO Toby Cosgrove, accompanied by an investment in training and communication, that everyone in the organization was considered and given permission to act as a “caregiver.” Years of actions later, which built upon that commitment, they are rated the number two hospital in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

Actions for hiring and development set the tone.

To enable an organization to imagine, care about, and build and deliver unique experiences, the right people must be found to be a part of that experience. For example, Pal’s Sudden Service, a drive-through restaurant based in Tennessee with twenty-six locations, enlists a 60-point psychometric survey to determine whether the teenagers who will deliver food to your drive-in window or make your burger will sync with the values of the company and team they will join. They then receive over 120 hours of training and ongoing mentoring. Their turnover is one-third the industry average, and they have lost just seven general managers in thirty-three years. Pal’s enjoys one of the highest revenue per square feet in the quick-serve restaurant industry. CEO Thom Crosby connects this back to the team, and how they are hired and developed.

They imagine experiences with a human and mindful eye.

Enable employees to take spirited actions, to be authentic in their personality, and to just be real and human is wired into experience design. First Direct Bank, for example, took the action to have a human available every day 24/7. Just like mom. And the humans you reach have your back, and permission to do what’s right for you. Every person customer’s reach is trusted to change processes, procedure, and policies to improve their situation. 92% of First Direct Customers commit that they would recommend the bank to someone else.
They wire two-way trust into experiences.

For example, new market entrant and disruptor, Lemonade Insurance, took the action to have claims fulfilled first, by having people film and sign an “honesty pledge.” On the Lemonade App, you chat with Lemonade’s bot “AI Jim” who first asks about what happened and why the claim. Next, he asks you to sign the “Honesty Pledge” on the app – vowing not only to Lemonade, but also to the other members in this with you, and the charities who benefit from fairness in reporting. Finally, this oh-so-smart and mom-like company asks you to look them in the eye, and record a video giving the reason for your claim. On their “transparency blog” where they note their performance, a recent post shared that Lemonade has captured 27% of policyholders who are newcomers to insurance in their current limited New York market area. There is power in truth and trust.

They take the high road in blotting out practices that have defined their industries, earning love and admiration and advocates who grow the business.

For example, the Columbus Metropolitan Library took the action to get rid of late fees. They want kids to meet their summer reading goal, not worry about those ten cents a day fees. The first library in the United States to do this, their action focuses the organization back to their mission. There is a bit of tracking – you’re asked to get that book back in twenty-eight days. Reasonable. Automatic renewal has been put in place so instead of calling your book late, it is renewed back to you. The library actually now gives you ten renewal periods to get back that book – so think of that as 280 days of grace. Because of this act and many others, Columbus Metropolitan Library is one of the most progressive and acclaimed libraries in the United States.

So as you consider unique experiences, begin first by holding a mirror to your organization, its “underbelly” and its focus and ability to gear how you build experiences to present the humanity of your company. That “unique” quality of showing up as a company that cares about customers’ lives will make you stand out in the marketplace, and with your employees.

Originally published on Quora and featured on Forbes.

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